DENVER, CO – JULY 31: San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) and left fielder Tommy Pham (28) celebrate after an 8-7 win against the Colorado Rockies on July 31, 2020. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)

How’s this sound – the first-place San Diego Padres?

The Padres continued their fast start Friday as the hot offense sparked another late rally, though the cold bullpen almost gave it away.

The team opened a three-game series in Denver with an 8-7 win to take over the division lead from the Colorado Rockies. They scored four in the top of the ninth, as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Tommy Pham each hit home runs – in Pham’s case, a three-run homer.

They needed every run, taking an 8-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth, only to have closer Kirby Yates give up two before Drew Pomeranz shut the door on the Rockies.

It’s early going, but in a shortened 60-game season, a fast start counts, and in the National League West, the Padres, at 6-2, Rockies, at 4-2, and as expected, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at 5-3, have set the pace so far. 

The hot-hitting Tatis has a .313 average with two homers and nine RBI’s to help power the Padres’ offense, but on the pitching side, Yates and new addition Emilio Pagan are just as cold. Yates’s ERA is 15.43, while Pagan’s isn’t much better, at 12.27.

The Padres send Joey Lucchesi to the hill at 5:10 p.m. Saturday, against the Rockies’ Kyle Freeland. After they wrap things up in Colorado, the Dodgers come to Petco Park on Monday.

There are some storm clouds on the horizon, though, in the form of Covid-19 positives that have wreaked havoc with other teams’ schedules.

Players and personnel on the Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals have tested positive for the coronavirus. Those results led Major League officials to postpone 15 games, according to CBS Sports, some of which will be made up via double headers.

In a related decision, MLB and the players’ union agreed Friday to shorten games played as part of double headers – teams will play a regulation seven innings per game.

Thus far, games have continued without interruption in the NL West.

– Staff reports

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